On Jan. 1, 2024, Italy assumed the presidency of the G7 for 2024. Consequently, the Italian ambassador to Kyiv, Pier Francesco Zazo, became the leader of the G7 Ambassadors for the Reforms in Ukraine Group, receiving the symbolic mace from his predecessor, Japanese ambassador Kuninori Matsuda.
At the 2015 Summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany, G7 leaders tasked their ambassadors in Kyiv with establishing a Ukraine support group aimed at advancing the reform process in Ukraine. This year, the G7 ambassadors carried out monitoring activity on Ukrainian government reforms and coordinated assistance by the G7 countries.
Despite the state of war, the seven ambassadors never stopped meeting with Ukrainian ministers and top institutional officials to help the modernization of the country and support its defense against the Russian aggression.
On July 12, 2023, the leaders of the G7, gathered in Vilnius for the NATO summit, adopted a joint declaration of support for Ukraine. They reaffirmed their commitment to the strategic objective of a free, independent, democratic, and sovereign Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders, capable of defending itself and deterring future aggression.
G7 meeting in Kyiv. Photo X
The G7 agenda 2023 for Ukraine was focused on the following points:
- Supporting Ukraine to secure its immediate and long-term financial stability and recovery, and to strengthen democratic institutions, rule of law, and anti-corruption.
- Facilitating humanitarian response to Ukraine at the national and local level to support the civilian population as a base for recovery and reconstruction, especially with regard to energy system.
- Pushing the reform of the judiciary and the prevention of corruption within the judicial system. Reform of Ukrainian law-enforcement bodies in line with international standards.
- Continued commitment to administrative decentralization, including the inclusive engagement of municipalities and regions during recovery and reconstruction.
- Support to the fight against corruption, increasing the effectiveness and independence of anticorruption institutions, including the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO), and the Agency for Investigation and Management of Assets (ARMA).
- Implementing energy sector reforms that promote investment, de-monopolization, and transparency, while ensuring the independence of energy and nuclear regulators.
The new leader of the G7 ambassadors, Pier Francesco Zazo, distinguished himself by being the last European ambassador to leave Kyiv at the outset of Russia’s full-scale attack, under continual shelling, with a humanitarian convoy to protect 120 people and children, the last Italian families cut off in Kyiv. He received official recognition from Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi during a full session of the Italian Parliament for his bravery.
Rather than leaving Ukraine, he opened a temporary diplomatic office in Lviv, then reopened the Italian Embassy on April 18, 2022. On Sept. 7, 2023, the Italian Honorary Consulate in Odesa was opened. An Italian consulate in the port city had been lacking since the Second World War.
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